This bill allows the filing of a lawsuit at a later date than usually allowed by law when the person is sick or lacks evidence to prove a cause of action. An expert testifying in court must also provide information about his or her history of serving as an expert and payment provided in section 4. If a circumstance is obviously traumatic, then a psychologist is not necessary too prove this fact--to do so is an added burden and cost. Grounds for denying arbitration are included in section 3.
An Act Allowing for unknown source of or severe illness and continuing offense to toll the statute of limitations and requiring greater attention to scientific reasoning
Section 1. Section 7 of the Chapter 260 of the General Laws Part III Title V is hereby amended by striking out the first sentence and inserting thereof in place the following:-
If the person entitled thereto is a minor, or is incapacitated by reason of mental illness or severe illness when a right to bring an action first accrues, the action may be commenced within the time hereinbefore limited after the disability is removed. If a person vacillates between severe illness and bouts of improved health, bouts of ill health shall be generously subtracted in assessing the time allowed for bringing forward a cause of action. When a person lacks proof that an illness or detrimental symptoms have an environmental cause, the statute of limitations shall be tolled until such time as the person is provided with sufficient evidence.
When the cause of action continues to exist to the detriment of the person’s civil rights, the statute of limitations shall be tolled until such time as the cause of action ceases.
Section 2. Section 5A of Chapter 260 of the General Laws Part III Title V is hereby amended by inserting after the last paragraph the following paragraph:-
However, any cause of action for which the action continues to cause additional harm and offend shall toll the statute of limitations.
Section 3. Section 1 of Chapter 251 of the General Laws Part III Title IV is hereby amended by inserting after the last paragraph the following paragraph:-
Grounds for denying a written agreement to submit to arbitration include but are not limited to (a) hinging acceptance of the contract upon provision of employment, an essential service, an essential product, or a utility unavailable through other means; (b) contracts of adhesion presented to a party in a weaker position without the option of negotiation; (c) violations of civil rights protections and the rights afforded by the Constitution of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts.
Section 4. Chapter 233 of the General Laws Part III Title II is hereby amended by adding the following section:-
SECTION 3B. Scientific and Medical Evidence
When a scientific or medical expert provides testimony, the expert shall be required to inform the court of the payment provided, his or her work providing relevant court testimony on the subject, and whether such testimony constitutes a full- or part-time job, and if so, for how long.
The credibility of expertise provided shall be examined carefully to determine whether research and consensus is simply manufactured by corrupt or financially interested parties. Experts referencing scientific evidence shall clarify how much and whether evidence is sociological, psychological, epidemiological, or laboratory-based, and provide full and clear scientific citations of research studies, rather than references to fact sheets, opinions, letters.
Scientific reasoning shall be carefully evaluated in determining the credibility of the statements of expert witnesses. Physical evidence of serious risks, such as concrete laboratory findings, cannot be dismissed by the manufacture or presentation of studies which have found nothing as the latter may simply be designed incorrectly or failed to look at the finding. A statistical pattern of risks and laboratory evidence of risk, even if not always in effect, shall be given weight also given that scientific findings may findings of effects may be specific to an unknown element.
Even when scientific evidence is still young, reasonable grounds for concern may exist justifying charges of negligence. Serious risks to lives and liberties as indicated scientific or medical evidence, as well as common sense, shall be accorded respect and care.
In the case of psychological trauma, when circumstances make the trauma or stress apparent to anyone with common sense, the testimony of a psychologist as an expert witness to provide evidence and explanation of trauma or stress shall not be required as evidence.